GCL Gelato 427 - Hidden Gems . . .
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ABOUT GCL | GELATO DIVISION | SUBSCRIPTION THREAD | GUILD


What is a Game Chat League?

A Game Chat League is a weekly discussion-group format for people who love gaming and enjoy talking about games. It is intended to foster depth and familiarity, producing engaging content and worthwhile interaction. Members get to know one another, establish shared interests, and generally develop a friendly and productive environment.

Of necessity, each division of GCL is kept relatively small (typically between 12-16 members, though individual divisions may incline one way or the other). A tight-knit discussion group tends to function more smoothly than a free-for-all. It allows individuals to be heard and understood, and for each participant to keep up and enjoy multiple topics as the week progresses. The format is geeklist-based, and lists are not published to the BGG front page.

Policy: If you're a lurker or have otherwise discovered GCL Gelato, feel free to read along with us and see what the members have to say on everything under the sun. If you have a constructive comment or something else you think would add to the discussion, consider posting it — if it's helpful, respectful, and polite to the discussion group as a whole, as well as to its individual members.

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Hidden bonus tracks from the Documentary This Time. Hidden at the end of this clip is a glimpse of Johanna Pinzler. She's certainly a gem . . .

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1. Board Game: Spell Saga [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Board Game: Spell Saga
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I used to write reviews for games which had fewer than three called Lesser Known Gems. There are ten of them to date, and some are more lesser known than others, and I enjoyed writing them.

Which game that you have played and love do you think the most likely that no other Gelato have played?

For me, despite mentioning it a time or twelve, I'm guessing no one has experienced the wonders of Spell Saga.

This tabletop novel solo card game takes up extensive real estate both on the table and in the brain, and is one of the more inventive ad interesting games I have ever played. It's my desert island game, because I'd need the time and solitude of such a location in order to explore the game and its world as deeply as they deserve.
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2. Board Game: Soccer Replay [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Soccer Replay
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Before ever I was a boardgamer, I was a reader. In fact it was the fact that my head was eternally in a book which inspired my folks to pick up a copy of Red Box D&D for me in 1981, setting me off on the path that led to here and now . . .

Which book that you have read and love do you think the most likely that no other Gelato have read?

Have I talked enough about Ken Grimwood's Replay? I'm pretty sure there are Gelato who have read it, since I talk about it all the time and it is far more available and accessible than Spell Saga . . .

But what about the rest of Grimwood's catalog? Maybe one of you moved on from Replay to Grimwood's follow up (and his final novel), Into The Deep - it's another with a large release and is an easy read . . .

Grimwood's earlier work, you ask? Ah. Now we're talking. Where Replay is the pinnacle of his writing - just dangerous enough, just uncomfortable enough, just hopeful enough - the prior book wallowed in the awfulness of the human condition. So difficult to read, yet so brilliantly written.

Breakthrough is about a young woman who finds a cure for her epilepsy, but at a cost . . .

Elise follows the life of a truly awful immortal woman . . .

Two Plus Two, written under a pseudonym, is an erotic novel of a pair of LA Detectives going undercover at a swingers club . . .

The Voice Outside explores the effect on mind control drugs on the protagonist investigators . . .

They are all stunning novels which I have read repeatedly, and which Johanna refuses to read again. Things rarely end well for his characters, and the writing is so good that the discomfort can become overwhelming. And all but his last two novels are often hard to find.
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3. Board Game: Run Emily Run! [Average Rating:6.30 Unranked]
Board Game: Run Emily Run!
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And even before books, I was a music lover, exposed to a wide range genres and styles by parents, grandparents, and neighbors from the youngest age.

Which artist that you have listened to and love do you think the most likely that no other Gelato have heard?

I discovered Emily Lee when she auditioned to be the replacement singer for the second album of Ginger Wildheart's side project, Hey! Hello! The album ended up spreading the tracks across a handful of different singers, but Emily was my favorite:

https://open.spotify.com/track/2QQjR6wjVYJwgpWie9YxiF?si=NSy...

I sought out her own albums and I've been listening to her music and her rants on the state of the music industry and gender relations and mental health ever since. She since pulled down her music from Spotify, so you'll have to find her via physical media. (She's worth it.)
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4. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:804]
Board Game: Metropolys
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Movies came later than music or books or games, and I am no longer the movie goer I was in my teens and twenties.

Which movie that you have watched and love do you think the most likely that no other Gelato have seen?

I wrote about how Metropolitan is the perfect example of how I like to discover a movie. I want to know nothing about it in advance, if possible I don't even want to be looking forward to it. I like the entire experience to be a complete surprise. I know it was Oscar nominated. I also know no one else who has seen it . . .

If that's too mainstream, and some of you have seen it, how about a movie by my buddy, Pat Higgins? He's a micro-budget British Horror writer / producer / director with a half dozen movies under his belt, many available with Amazon Primer. Check out Hell Bride for a fun horror-slash-romcom movie made for the cost of a car.

What you won't be able to see easily is his most recent feature, House on the Witch Pit. He filmed it a few years back, premiered it at a horror festival, then destroyed the master on stage. I was mad I missed it, so I made sure I was ready when, after reediting it into a strangely different movie, he released it for 24 hours over VOD services. It was a smart and creepy movie within a documentary within a movie, which once again disappeared from the view of the public. Pat just finished a final cut and will release it one more time before year's end (at least that was the pre-COVID plan . . .)

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5. Board Game: Have I Got News For You [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
Board Game: Have I Got News For You
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And then there's TV.

Which TV series that you have watched and love do you think the most likely that no other Gelato have seen?

I wonder if there are Anglophiles enough here to have watched my favorite news quiz, HIGNFY. The tan suit, the tub of lard, the futility of Ian Hislop, and the genius of Paul "I took metalwork" Merton.

Or going back a little further, does anyone recall the precursor to The Crystal Maze, the long lamented Adventure Game?
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6. Board Game: British Rails [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:2807]
Board Game: British Rails
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GAME WEEK

 10   Star Wars: Imperial Assault (110 all-time)
One more mission of our ongoing Star Wars: Imperial Assault – Return to Hoth campaign. Now there are two missions left, both on Hoth. Although we play on the hardest level, the RAIV coop variant still seems too easy … we need to find something to make the game a little harder for the Rebels. Nevertheless, we totally enjoy this game, even after more than hundred plays.

 7   1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire (6 all-time)
Train game night on Friday and this time, we went to Russia. It's not my favorite 18xx game … with 20 minors or so, the trick here is to juggle trains between your minors to generate more income than your fellow players, and then merge or transform them into big companies. The game drags in the end … we had seven major companies and nearly all of them that two huge trains. Calculating revenue was tedious. As I said, not my favorite 18xx.

 9   1846: The Race for the Midwest (7 all-time)
Now the other game was Thomas Lehmann's 1846, and this is a really good design. Quick, easy (not many special rules to obey, compared with the classic 1830) and always tense until the end.

 8   New Frontiers NEW!
Talking about Thomas Lehmann; I bought his “Race for the Galaxy Board Game” a couple of days ago, and on Sunday, Andrea and I sat in the sun on the patio and we tried it out for the first time. The game is good, no doubt here. A typical “Lehman-Engine-Builder”, using a lot of mechanisms and artwork from the card game (and the dice game too). I glanced over the rules and if you are familiar with RftG, you know the rules for this game already. More or less. Andrea's verdict was “a little dry”; well, yes. Maybe. I rated it an 8, as I think it does exactly what the card game does, but added some more layers of decisions, like introducing game money, and a fixed layout of techs that can be bought – it's much less luck dependent than the card game, as all the important things are in front of the players (rather than hidden in a 150+ cards deck) and you can access/buy them anytime. Well, with Andrea's “meh” I guess it won't see many playings, but I hope to get it on the table again.

 8   British Rails (23 all-time)
After that, Andrea asked for British Rails, and I happily agreed. So we built our tracks through Great Britain and I got somewhat lucky with the demand cards and was able to start in Glasgow, making a good income to deliver some goods down to Manchester. When I finally had the north-south connection Glasgow-London, I managed to get my hands on two lucrative high-income contracts (Jute from northern Scotland to England's south). That helped immensely … I was always one step ahead of Andrea; so in fact, it was a rather boring game (we're talking of the Rails series here, so "boring" is relative! meeple ).

Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Board Game: 1861: The Railways of the Russian Empire
Board Game: 1846: The Race for the Midwest
Board Game: New Frontiers
Board Game: British Rails


I hope you all had a great week too! meeple
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7. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:959]
Board Game: Machi Koro
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Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Decathlon
Board Game: Way of the Dragon
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Board Game: Euchre
Board Game: Can't Stop
Board Game: Machi Koro
Board Game: Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition


 7.5   Machi Koro
 2   Way of the Dragon
 7   Oh Hell! x2
 8   Euchre x8
 7   Can't Stop
 7.8   Machi Koro
 9   Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition

It was an eventful weekend, for the wrong reasons.
Saturday morning I made a double batch of pizza dough since it was supposed to be cool and rainy all day. I turned on the oven to preheat and even though I heard the click of the igniter/ electronics, the gas didn't come on. I waited and watched the readout, and it did nothing. So no gas in the oven, no pizza. soblue
I had gas to the stovetop, and to the broiler, but that didn't help dinner along any, so I got out the portable countertop oven roaster. Trouble is, my pizza pans don't fit inside of it, so it was now a search for the pan with the greatest area that fit into it. Found a decent sized ceramic chafing dish, so I pressed my dough into that and loaded up the toppings.
My oven will cook a pizza in 20 minutes on a metal plan, but this was ceramic, so thicker and better insulated than a pan. 30 minutes later the top is bubbly and browning nicely, the side crusts looked good, but the middle of the bottom crust was still doughy. So it had go back for another 5 minutes or so. I ended up spending close to two hours making three pizzas (it would have been two in 40 minutes or less, normally).

Below-average pizza aside, the real problem was that my oven doesn't work; of course. I found an old repair bill from the last time when my broiler wouldn't ignite and it was for $250 back in 2007. I've had my eye on the stove performance for a while now. One of the burners stopped working and another one is really touchy, and to think that I could pay at least double that to fix those plus the oven on a 20 year old unit was too much compromise. I've been wanting a new range for years, actually. Then my wife tells me that the clothes dryer is on its last legs, as well, she figures.
So we went appliance shopping on Sunday. 2 1/2 hours and $3,000 later, we have two new appliances due to be delivered in mid-July. Shouldn't be a big deal to wait since I can use the portable roaster, in a pinch, and the BBQ grill is our preferred summer method of cooking in any case.
I couldn't BBQ the pizza, by the way, because it was absolutely pissing rain at the time. I've grilled in a light drizzle before, but this would have required a change of clothing between trips, and a towel to sop off the water from the pizzas.
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8. RPG Item: The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition [Average Rating:8.96 Overall Rank:219]
RPG Item: The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition
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This is the week that was:
RPG Item: The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition
Board Game: 6 nimmt!
Board Game: Battle Sheep


Apparently I had a light week.

 10   The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition (26 all-time) TNC
We continued with our adventure on the pirate isle of Costora. One of the party, a prootwaddle, was taken away by deadlife pirates, while the rest of the party managed to escape serious injury. The question now becomes, can they successfully rescue their companion...

 6   6 nimmt! (30 all-time) TNC
A quick closer to the night.

 N/A   Battle Sheep NEW! Melissa
Melissa challenged me to a game of this, and after sorting out difficulties with the interface, which was surprising since BGA is usually pretty good about that, we're underway.

I've already made a couple of mistakes, and this will be a solidly one sided affair, but on the whole it looks like a perfectly fun little abstract.

I find I am not enjoying the asynchronous games experience on BGA all that much. My account is tied to my Yahoo email account, so notifications go there and I never see them, plus the interface is awkward on my iPad, which is where I do 90% of my internet stuff.

What's going on: I'm filling in for my boss this week while she's on vacation, and then I'm off for two weeks myself. I'm looking forward to the break, even if I'm not going anywhere.

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9. Board Game: Hive Pocket [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Board Game: Hive Pocket
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Board Game: Can't Stop
Board Game: Tobago
Board Game: Rallyman: GT
Board Game: Las Vegas
Board Game: Saboteur
Board Game: Jaipur
Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy
Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish!
Board Game: Hive
Board Game: Downforce
Board Game: The Voyages of Marco Polo


 N/A   Can't Stop x8 BGA

 N/A   Tobago x2 BGA A fun find the treasure game.

 N/A   Rallyman: GT x2 BGA I'm getting better at this, but I think starting position makes it a little unbalanced.

 N/A   Las Vegas x2 Yucata Played two 2p games, it def plays better with more than two.

 N/A   Saboteur NEW! BGA I think I like the physical game better, it's easier to try and identify who the saboteur is or bluff your way out of folks thinking you are.

 N/A   Jaipur BGA

 N/A   Roll for the Galaxy BGA Tough game at 2p. I hadn't realized how much I counted on other players to select an action I was hoping for.

 N/A   Hey, That's My Fish! x2 Yucata Another game that plays better with higher player counts.

 N/A   Hive x3 Probably the closest I will ever get to learning chess. I enjoy it, but seem to be easily beaten.

 N/A   Downforce NEW! BGA Started out well, but lost horribly. An interesting combination of racing and betting. You don't have to win the race if you have bet well.

 N/A   The Voyages of Marco Polo Yucata One more that plays better with more than two. I'm still figuring things out, I like it though.

Went to the eye doc last week, I was impressed with the masks and cleaning. I'm not impressed with how my eyes are aging. In addition to needing readers for reading, computering, and gaming I will now have a second pair of specs for driving and distance vision.

I'd started a very slow moving Lord of the Rings marathon a couple weekends ago, with The Fellowship of the Ring and all the special features. Sunday I started it up again and was so very confused, very confused. Turns out I'd decided to skip The Two Towers and go straight to Return of the King, preloading the player for the next viewing opportunity, and then completely forgot. I relented and swapped for the Two Towers.

Edit: Took Hugo in for his knee surgery today. Doc put him under and manipulated both knees, determined they are equally not particularly bad, certainly not bad enough to need surgery. So, no surgery for Hugo! He will have to go to a physical therapist and see if they can treat the soft tissue problem.
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10. Board Game: Showboat [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Showboat
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Last *three* week's gaming:

Board Game: Würfel Poker
Board Game: Button Men
Board Game: Homeworlds
Board Game: Azul
RPG: Alone Among the Stars
Board Game: Shake Up
Board Game: Roam
Board Game: Lines of Action
Board Game: Qyshinsu: Mystery of the Way
Board Game: Seikatsu
Board Game: CIV: Carta Impera Victoria
Board Game: Love Letter
Board Game: SHŌBU
Board Game: L.L.A.M.A.
Board Game: Showboat
Board Game: Maha Yodha
Board Game: Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War
Board Game: Iconica


 6   Würfel Poker
 8   Button Men x3
 9   Homeworlds
 8   Azul
 8   Alone Among the Stars NEW!
 8   Shake Up x2 NEW!
 8   Roam
 9   Lines of Action
 7   Qyshinsu: Mystery of the Way
 9   Seikatsu
 8   CIV: Carta Impera Victoria
 7   Love Letter
 8   SHŌBU
 7   L.L.A.M.A.
 8   Showboat NEW!
 8   Maha Yodha
 8   Israeli Independence: The First Arab-Israeli War, 1948-1949 x2
 7   Iconica NEW!

So, today is the start of my latest part-time work adventure. Already discussing with the Exec and my staff what we can afford to let slip through the cracks over the next few months . . .

Plenty of good gaming with Boo, and occasionally Johanna. Highlights include a new company, family and game from James Ernest - Showboat. It's a weird and wonderful sorta tableau builder, sorta hand management thing unlike anything else I've played. Appears to be looking to fill a niche with the six-suited Island Deck which is more complex than the Series: Pairs Game System (Cheapass Games) while still being accessible and non-threatening to non-gamers. Highly recommended.

Finally got Shake Up to the table, and Boo loves it, having beaten me twice. Plenty to explore in this reverse deck-builder ("deck-breaker"?)

Been forever since I played Maha Yodha and Boo finally took the bait, in large part because of the gorgeous art. It might still be a little to complex for her - it is all about building and rebuilding combos, evaluating which player has the stronger board, and determining when to trash yours to dismantle theirs. I find the decisions and the unusual flow of the game delicious. I was involved in playtesting this early on, and I'm sad that this one never really caught the attention. Could have been big with organized play support.

One pretty game led to another in Iconica, which is much lighter while still playing in the same amount of time as Maha Yodha. The first play was just to understand the actual gameplay. In future, the drafting of the teams will feature much more prominently, since that is where the game's real decisions lie (much like a super light MtG . . .) I'd love to play this a lot more, and again OP would be a big hit - indeed I think it exists in the designer's home region. And did I mention the gorgeous art / design on the oversized cards? I did? Oh, good.

Also played a little solo journaling game called Alone Among the Stars. Here's the result of a relaxing 15 minute noodle: A brief interlude alone . . .

-----

Started watching the MCU movies in order on Disney+. So far through the first two Iron Man movies (which were half of all the series I'd already seen) and Thor. They're enjoyable enough, but I don't regret not getting sucked into the hyper of catching them all as they were released. I am excited to start to see the worldbuilding knit the movie universe together. Cap next.

Also into the penultimate episode of the first season of Doom Patrol, which is smart and laugh out loud funny and just wonderful. Glad to hear a second season is greenlit.

Johanna and I did something we never do, and actually binged a series last weekend. Since HBO made Watchman free for 3 days we watched all 9 hours over three nights and it was well worth it. It's a powerful and timely story, beautifully told, strong enough to stand alone if you don't know the supposed source material (Johanna) and packed with nods to those who do know (me). Glad this one's not presently getting a second season - it has a beginning, middle, and end. Leave it alone.

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Got on the stationary bike this morning for the first time in forever, and I think that's my routine for the three mornings a week I'm not "at work" for the forseeable. Planning on listening to this amazing sounding podcast while I ride:

Quote:
It’s 1990. The Berlin Wall has just come down. The Soviet Union is on the verge of collapse. A heavy metal band from West Germany, the Scorpions, releases a power ballad, “Wind of Change.” The song becomes the soundtrack to the peaceful revolution sweeping Europe — and one of the biggest rock singles ever. According to some fans, it’s the song that ended the Cold War.

Decades later, New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe hears a rumor from a source: the Scorpions didn’t actually write “Wind of Change.” The CIA did.
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Also planning on spending one day a week polishing my Descended from the Queen RPG for hopeful February Kickstarter. Anyone want to give a try to For the Band via RPGG play by forum to give me some insight to a game in the same sort of genre in the system?

Let me know and I'll set it up. No RPG experience needed - I just ran two other DftQ PbF games for newbies and they were amazing.

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Today is my parent's 50th Anniversary. Amazing. My brother (in New Orleans) and I (in New York) sent them (in England) a book of 50 years worth of photos, flowers chocolates and bubbly, and set up a surprise Zoom call with family in England, Sweden, the US, and Israel.

Hell of a success.

From gallery of nycavri
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11. Board Game: SOS Titanic [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2053]
Board Game: SOS Titanic
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Board Game: Herbaceous Sprouts
Board Game: Arraial
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges
Board Game: SOS Titanic


 9   Herbaceous Sprouts x3
 8   Arraial NEW!
 8   The Castles of Burgundy NEW!
 8   Rajas of the Ganges NEW!
 7   SOS Titanic NEW!

Not much to say.
Except I'm giving away SOS Titanic
Anyone interested?
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